SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah advocates say a transition to renewable energy is a move towards energy independence in the United States.

“We’re seeing higher oil and gas prices and these are exasperated now by Putin’s actions,” said Sarah Wright, the Executive Director of Utah Clean Energy. “That really underscores the need to get off of oil and gas and transition to clean energy, which not only lowers bills but also provides long-term price stability and more security.”

Despite being one of the top sources for petroleum imports in the United States, only about 7% of the United States’ imports come from Russia, according to the US Energy Information Administration. But Wright said curbing the US dependence on oil and gas means limiting the nation’s dependence on countries that may weaponize the world’s need for those products.

“Solar and wind don’t belong to a country, and they can’t be controlled by a country,” said Wright. A major hurdle to a full transition to renewable energy is energy storage.

“It really is the game-changer. If we can figure out storage that is really scalable and really has tremendous capacity, we will be able to move more rapidly towards or less from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy,” said Rep. Stephen Handy, who sponsors HB 272, a bill that incentivizes some businesses to purchase energy storage equipment. 

“The bill was going to set up a pilot project and allow grants for existing businesses with solar on the rooftops, to add a battery storage component,” Rep. Handy said. 

According to the representative, Utah has enough fossil fuels to last the state’s needs for quite some time, but new technology and innovation will help create cost-effective alternatives.

“I think people will choose a greener future. They really will. If it’s cost-competitive people will choose a greener future,” said Rep. Handy.